Many Americans are workaholics, and even when we do take vacations or other paid time off, many of us work when we are supposed to be relaxing. According to a Glassdoor survey, 40 percent of employees reported taking 25 percent or less of their eligible time off. Some people are just too busy to take time off, while others avoid taking time off because they fear for their jobs.
In addition to taking less time off than is given, many Americans work more hours than they are required to, and even work at home. So for some people, the idea of actually working less hours — or changing one’s work schedule from a traditional 40 hour plus week — is daunting. Surprisingly though, changing your work schedule can sometimes actually save you money. Here are four options for changing your schedule might cut costs or save you money.
1. Work from home
Working from home isn’t for everyone; if you are easily distracted, it might be difficult to work at home. Still, there are ways to fight distractions: having an actual area designated as your home office can help, as can having a to-do list and setting deadlines. Working from home can help you save money because you won’t have to spend as much on gas for your commute, on lunch meetings or eating-out, and you might even need less work clothing. Even if you can work from home a few days a week, you will save money. If you are able to completely work from home or own your own business, you can also save money that way, but your business will have to be successful in order for you to cut costs if you are leaving a profitable job.
2. Work fewer days
If your employer is willing to allow you to work a four-day work week, you will save money on gasoline and other work-related expenses, just like if you can work from home. If you work a traditional 40 hour work week, see if you can work four 10 hour days. Your days will be long, but the money you will save will be worth it. Plus, many people enjoy having a three-day weekend, or regularly having a day off during the traditional work week. If you are considering asking to try out a four-day work week, you will need to determine if your schedule can actually fit into four days (and consider all your regular meetings.) Make sure you have a plan when you speak to your boss.
3. Change your hours
If you are paid by the hour instead of paid a salary, it can be beneficial to consider changing your hours. Many hourly positions pay more for night hours, and of course, holiday hours. Extra holiday pay can be a great way to accrue more money when you really need it, and a shift differential can help you to make significantly more money if you are willing to work a less desirable shift. Although salaried employees usually don’t have this same benefit, it’s always possible that if you are willing to work non-traditional times, you might still make more money, and often salaried employees still qualify for overtime pay.
4. Work more hours
For many people, this option can be the least desirable, but working more hours can also help you save more money. If your company offers overtime pay for specific seasons or during particular projects, take the chance to make more money when you can. Also, although you should still take advantage of your vacation and paid time off when you can, it never hurts to work extra hours (as long as it’s legal) to show your commitment. Most people can’t continually be the first person into the office and the last person to leave, without eventually burning out, but doing so is a great way to show that you are dedicated to your job, particularly during very important projects or seasons.
While taking a vacation or a lot of time off won’t help you cut costs (more than the initial savings of not having to drive to work for a few days, pay for lunch, etc.), it’s important to take some time off regularly. Time off from work helps us to relax and rejuvenate ourselves, and then hopefully, come back to work ready to work hard. In the long run, if you are healthy and you take time to enjoy your life outside of work, you will save money on health costs.